Trout – Rose River Trout Fishing (VA – Lower SNP Access)

It’s hard to believe, but the last time I fished the middle part of the Rose River was back in June, 2006. I have vague memories of being pretty tired at the end of that experience (see previous posting). This time, six years later and six years older, the Rose River was no gentler! However, age brings wisdom and I was smart enough to cut across the side of the mountain to intersect the fire road for an easier 2.5 mile return hike downhill to the truck instead of stumbling over the infinite number of slippery rocks waiting to crack my old bones. Hey! Six years ago… this blog has been active for six years! Now, that is an achievement.

Anyway, back to this story… Lon and I slid into the parking spot at the lower entrance to the Shenandoah National Park at around 8:30 in the morning. We quickly geared up and headed up fire road with the intent of starting fishing about a mile or so up from the lot where the river begins to pitch upward into the park. Since it had been so long since I had been here, I was unsure of where to reenter the river. I should’ve read my article from six years ago! The intense pressure to fish put both of us onto the river far earlier than we intended. After encountering numerous shallow pools with dribbles of water in the flatter area of the river, we realized we were premature. This was confirmed when I looked up and saw the bridge. Rats! Now I remembered. Don’t start fishing until the turn of the from the bridge. I gave Lon a call on the radio and waited for him to join me at that location. We trudged another quarter-mile or so and then reentered the river where the hiking got tough and the rocks were even more treacherous.

In my earlier posting, I commented on a “trail” paralleling the river up to the falls. In the last six years, the forest reclaimed that faint line of easier walking. After the first 30 yards, it disappeared into the thick tangle of brush and fallen trees. We were in the stream to continue upward. In September and October, after the low water of the summer, one cannot expect to find widely distributed trout. At this point in the year, they still huddle in their community pools and those pools need to be at least a foot or more deep with a varied bottom, full of hiding places, to allow them to survive from their natural predators. Sadly, when fishing upstream, it’s impossible to tell how deep some of the likely looking pools are. I spent far too much time flipping flies into good-looking water that turned out to be merely inches deep. Recognizing the futility of that strategy and cognizant of the press of time, I picked up my pace in accordance with the old adage, “If the fishing is slow, move fast. If fishing is fast, move slow.” I limited my focus to the pools that were clearly much deeper.

We finally hit the section where the river pitches sharply up the side of the mountain and the strenuous climb over the massive boulders that guarded the river finally paid off as we rediscovered the exceptionally deep plunge pools, full of ice cold water and hauty fish.

I wish I could report spectacular results. When compared to the 2006 experience, it seemed like there were far fewer trout out and about. In the deep pools a good 3 miles from our start point, we observed numerous trophy sized brookies (12 inches or more) cruising back and forth. Of course, these guys are old and experienced and ignored everything we threw at them. But beyond those spots that were heavily defended by the grueling hike, slippery rocks and steep canyon walls, nothing. I picked up to 6 inch brookies out of the same hole and got plenty of practice elsewhere.

Date Fished: 10/5/2012

Elevation profile to reach the falls

Remember to refer to my rating explanations – these are based on what I look for – so RED for Physical Fitness translates to easy physically – you do not need to be in shape to fish this section.  I prefer terrain that is tough to get into and out of.

I wish I could report spectacular results. When compared to the 2006 experience, it seemed like there were far fewer trout out and about. In the deep pools a good 3 miles from our start point, we observed numerous trophy sized brookies (12 inches or more) cruising back and forth. Of course, these guys are old and experienced and ignored everything we threw at them. But beyond those spots that were heavily defended by the grueling hike, slippery rocks and steep canyon walls, nothing. I picked up to 6 inch brookies out of the same hole and got plenty of practice elsewhere.

Bottom line: Just the scenery makes it worthwhile to sweat upriver to the falls. Hopefully, when the water rises, the adult trout will spread out into more locations. If they don’t exist, the good news is that there were plenty of fingerlings that promise good fishing in the years to come.

Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:

Virginia VDGIF
Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia
Virginia Trout Streams
Virginia Blue-Ribbon Streams

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Lon working the first superb hole

Toughest climb lay ahead

Massive brookies in these pools… note the elevation from where I took the picture. Hard climb up and around to the next spot.

More tough climbing

It never wanted to end!

But… the reward was worth it

The falls.  Pristine… but unproductive.

Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore

Articles on this site are out of date since some go back to 2006. Regulations and property ownership may have changed since publication. It is your responsibility to know and obey all regulations and not trespass on private property.

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  I disclaim all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  I disclaim all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

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